March 3, 2011

A Gastronomic Guru

Caren McSherry is a culinary dynamo who divides her time between her store, her cooking classes and regular appearances on radio and television.

BY MICHELLE HOPKINS

Chef, author and culinary diva Caren McSherry sees herself as a missionary of sorts, “bringing really good food to the masses.” The owner of Gourmet Warehouse and Caren’s Cooking School, McSherry has written three cookbooks – the most recent, In A Pinch, Effortless Cooking for Today’s Gourmet – and is co-author of another three.

She hosts Saturday Chef on Global’s morning news, is a regular guest on the Bill Good Show on CKNW/98 and writes a weekly column for TV Week magazine. And she still finds time to teach but not as much as she’d like “because I’m busy with the store.” McSherry opened the wholesale epicurean foods store with a few items she picked up from her world travels. Today, Gourmet Warehouse stocks 22,000 items from all over the globe, including oils, spices, cheeses, vinegars, nuts and cookware.

Her cooking school, founded in 1978, is Canada’s longest running, privately owned school. The 1,100-square-foot restaurant-grade kitchen/school is now housed in the back of the store where celebrity chefs are often invited to teach – luminaries such as John Bishop, of Bishop’s Restaurant in Vancouver, and Karen Barnaby, executive chef at The Fish House in Stanley Park.

Wasabi and Panko–Crusted Halibut

From Caren McSherry’s latest cookbook, In A Pinch, Effortless Cooking for Today’s Gourmet.
“This is one of my constant standbys. I love this recipe. Simple should be effortless, but it can also be elegant. Try substituting wild salmon or cod for the halibut.” Serves 4

1 ½ lb (750 g) fresh halibut
½ cup (125 ml) wasabi mayonnaise
1 cup (250 ml) panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tbsp (15 ml) grapeseed (or peanut) oil for frying

Directions
Cut the fish into four equal serving pieces. Thinly spread the mayo on both sides of the fish. Dip into the panko crumbs, pressing them to adhere. Set fish aside. Heat the oil in a nonstick ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Fry the fish on both sides until crispy, then transfer to a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

I like to finish all of my fish dishes in the oven. Pan-searing the fish seals in the moisture, and the oven cooks it evenly without hot spots, to give you a perfect piece of fish every time.

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